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Effective leadership is necessary if you want your business to succeed. As a leader, you set the agenda, prioritize the work being completed and delegate tasks to other employees. Employees likely turn to you for guidance, support and feedback. That means your mindset will affect the tone and attitudes of everyone in the office — for better or worse — so it’s important for all leaders need to be aware of their mindset at the office.
Positive vs. negative mindsets in the workplace
We all strive to have a positive attitude, but in some cases, it doesn’t always work that way. You can have a bad morning commute that brings down your mood, or maybe you’re dealing with another stressor outside of work that’s clouding your vision. Either way, you must be careful not to bring that stress into the workplace, especially if you want your team to operate at the highest efficiency.
It’s easy to fall into a toxic mindset at work, but you must constantly guard against it as a leader. Employees will carry their interactions with you for the remainder of their workday, which will also affect how they deal with their colleagues. The bottom line? Your attitude will also infect the perspectives of everyone who works for you, and you should consistently check on your mental state to make sure you aren’t slipping into toxic territory.
Over time, those negative attitudes will slowly affect your company culture. Here are a few toxic mindsets that can inversely affect your workplace:
Overly high expectations: You should have high expectations of yourself, but it’s a bad idea to project those same expectations onto your employees. You can’t expect them to handle situations the same way you would. Your employees may start to feel like nothing they do is ever good enough for you, and it will begin to hamper your relationships.
Gossip or complaining: There’s no quicker way to poison the office environment than by engaging in gossip, negativity or complaining. You may think your employees don’t notice, but they will start to pick up on these attitudes.
Blaming your employees: Finally, blaming your employees when things go wrong is evidence of a toxic mindset. Instead of accepting responsibility and looking for ways to improve or do things differently, you look for ways to punish others, which fosters an environment where your employees can’t fully trust you.
Let’s look at a few ways a leader’s mindset can impact the office environment:
1. Employee engagement
Employee engagement is a must if you want to build a strong company culture. One of the ways you improve employee engagement is by selling them the company’s vision for the future, and most importantly, delivering it in a way that resonates with them.
When your employees understand how they fit into the bigger picture for the company, they’ll be more excited about and engaged in their work. Alternatively, the wrong mindset can hurt employee engagement.
For instance, if you have overly high expectations of your employees, they may stop enjoying their work entirely. They’ll start to realize that nothing they do will be good enough, so they’ll likely begin doing the bare minimum required.
Company leaders who treat each employee’s ideas with respect often see an increase in the overall creativity of their employees. If a leader becomes controlling or negative, their employees will stop taking chances and thinking creatively over time. Nobody wants to offer alternative ideas if they’re afraid of being judged or diminished, which is why fostering an environment where everyone feels heard and respected is essential in any workplace.
Instead of thinking about what’s best for the company, your employees will start looking for ways to keep you happy. This will stifle innovation and prevent your company from flourishing.
Trust is important in any workplace, regardless of the type of work performed. Employees need to trust that their leader is making decisions in their best interest, and leaders need to trust that their employees can get the job done efficiently and effectively.
Studies have shown that employees with a higher level of cynicism tend to distrust their manager’s strategies. Not only that, but they’re more likely to doubt your intentions and question why you’re making certain decisions in the first place, preventing them from seeing the complete picture.
If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic, it’s that trust in leadership is crucial, especially during periods of change. If your employees trust you, they can adapt and thrive even during changing conditions, which is vital for cultivating a positive, robust and sustainable workplace culture.
Your mindset is one of the most significant contributors to your organization’s overall performance. Think about it: Employees look to their leaders during times of uncertainty, whether in their professional or personal lives. If they’re having difficulty handling a task, they might consider turning to you for an answer to their questions, but that’s only if there’s a positive relationship in place. Choosing to snap at an employee one time can deter them from ever coming to you with a question again, making every interaction you have with your team significantly important.
If you have a negative mindset, it’s only a matter of time before it begins to impact your company’s performance. Negative attitudes tend to make companies more resistant to innovation, too, which means you’ll be less competitive in the market.
A negative mindset also makes companies more resistant to change and less capable of dealing with external forces. For instance, if you’re unwilling to accept new ideas, you won’t be able to adapt quickly to changes in the marketplace or unexpected events, like government legislation that negatively impacts your business.
Related: How to Become a Positive Thinker
How to cultivate a positive office environment
As a leader, your mindset matters because, over time, it will also become the mindset of your employees. Fortunately, there are many ways you can cultivate a positive office environment.
One of the best things you can do is to reframe the way you look at challenges and failures. For one thing, stop thinking of setbacks as failures — look at them as opportunities for growth. Celebrate your employees for being willing to try something new, and never blame them for negative business outcomes.
It’s also crucial that you rise above any office fighting and gossiping and refuse to engage in this type of behavior. Look for ways to help your employees get to know one another and work together.
Finally, it’s essential to encourage your employees to develop a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset believe they can develop their abilities through hard work. When you give your employees feedback, do it in a way that promotes learning. Encourage them to continue growing and developing their skills — you’ll be surprised at the amazing results you can achieve by doing so.